Friday, November 03, 2006

Sequoia 1998

Installment number four of our past vacations. Following our long, and sometimes harrowing, southwest vacation, we decided to make the next one short. In October 1998 we spent a long weekend in Sequoia National Park. This was my fourth visit to Sequoia and my second with the wife. Our first trip was over Christmas 1996 and the park was covered with newly fallen snow - truly beautiful but many places in the park were inaccessible without snowshoes or cross country skis. This trip allowed us to go where we couldn't before.

We took country roads on the way to the park. At one corner we came upon a man selling wood crafts from the back of his van. We stopped and looked at his wares and left with an attractive little shelf which now graces out family room wall. We arrived at the park and checked into our hotel, Sequoia Village Inn, which was located right outside the south gate of the park. The hotel was owned by Curtis Nutter. We refer to him as Curtis P. Nutter, Mountain man.

We spent the next two days driving through the park (parks actually - Sequoia and Kings Canyon), climbing Moro Rock, gawking at the enormous trees, and walking a few short hikes through the Sequoia forest. Moro rock is one of my favorite places to go. The rock has paths and stairs carved in it allowing you to climb up to the top. The path is a little scary in places where only a one foot tall wall separates you from a death-causing plunge to the ground below. The top of the rock is a gently rounded dome with a single chain keeping you from sliding over the side. I am making it sound more dangerous then it really is - as long as you don't think about it too much. The view from the top can be spectacular but recently haze caused by air pollution has diminished the splendor.

After Moro rock we did a loop hike around a meadow. The loop takes you by Tharp's log - a cabin that is built into a fallen sequoia tree. A short drive takes you to General Sherman, considered the largest living tree by volume. We walked the nearby presidential grove loop, a short walk past sequoia's named after presidents.

The last day was a drive through gorgeous King's canyon and the return home.

We had a delightful three days up in the forests and we are planning to go back in the near future, possibly in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming. I would like to drive up to Mineral King. I would also like to stay in a lodge in the park if we can get in.

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